The first Piaggio "CIAO" was unveiled in Genoa on October 11, 1967, and due to its originality and simplicity was produced continuously until 2006.
We actually have to go back to 1955 to find an early prototype of the Ciao, but it never made it to production; that design was signed by Corradino d'Ascanio, the same designer of the Vespa and the Ape.
His operation was, at the same time, extremely simple and ingenious for the time. Under normal conditions, the Ciao operated like a normal moped with automatic transmission: you accelerated and braked, nothing more. But, should the mixture run out, it was possible to release the rear wheel from the transmission by means of a button and, by acting on the pedals like any bicycle, to continue riding, albeit with no small effort given the moped's 40 kg weight. In those days, in fact, it was not that unusual to meet some anonymous hapless person engaged in exhausting pedaling to reach the first gas station and make mixture.
As early as the 1970s, Piaggio invested heavily in advertising the Ciao, developing iconography aimed at reaching younger people. In particular, one of the most successful posters was the "sardomobili," a definition of the uncomfortable car, where the driver was enclosed as if in a sardine can.
They produced many versions of the Ciao but surely the rarest and most sought after by collectors is the one dedicated to the World Cup held in Italy in 1990, the one from "Notti Magiche"; it was nothing more than a light blue "Ciao PX" with white plastics and tricolor stickers with the "Italia '90" logo.
The "Ciao Italia '90" was a great publicity stunt on Piaggio's part, partly because "Ciao" was the name of the event's mascot; the idea was taken up much more recently by Fiat with their "Pandazzurri."
In short, the Ciao was for millions of kids the very first motor vehicle, the first breeze of freedom from parents, the first rides with friends or alone; a Legend on two wheels. They also called it Ciao because it was the new kid on the block. Like he was the friend who was late to the bar and greeted everyone. He had to speak to a world that had its pockets full of trombones and barons and that wanted to finally call itself by the familiar.
A real revolution.